Freelance fumes over front-page 'exclusive'

By Dominic Ponsford

A freelance journalist is fuming after a Princess Diana story he offered exclusively to the Daily Express appeared three weeks later on the front page of the Sunday Express without attribution or payment.

David Evans, who has been a freelance for 30 years, told Press Gazette bluntly: “I feel I’ve been shafted by the bastards and don’t think they should get away with it.”

Evans said he first sent his tale about a portrait of Diana disappearing from the National Portrait Gallery to the Daily Express on 4 December.

He said: “I heard nothing and, as we were fast entering the Christmas meltdown, sat on the story for a while, trying to work out who would run an anti- Charles story given most of the papers are up his royal arse.

“But then, over a Christmas beer, I mentioned it to a pal who runs The Inquirer website who asked me to do an abbreviated, more off-beat version for him.”

Evans said he didn’t expect the story to get followed up, because The Inquirer is a niche site aimed at the computer industry.

So he was surprised to see it appear on the front page of the Sunday Express on 1 January. He said: “My gripe is not that the Sunday Express followed the story up, especially if it’s already partially in the public domain by being placed on The Inquirer website.

“It’s that it gave no credit for the source, its intro is strikingly similar to how I filed it to the Daily Express, and other phrases – such as “Charles resplendent in riding boots” – are identical to my own.

“This at least has to be some breach of copyright.”

Evans also quoted a source as saying about the painting: “Word is it won’t be coming back” – and the same quote was used in the Sunday Express piece.

Evans said he would have expected to be paid at least £500 for a front-page exclusive in the Sunday Express.

He said he has written to the paper outlining his concerns but has yet to receive a response.

No-one from the Sunday Express was available for comment.

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